Yes, I did the yearly ritual of making the New Year’s resolutions even before you could say 2013! It has the usual suspects- Lose Weight, Get more “me-time”, get my career sorted (in my case a Work at Home one), Travel and so on. I know some might slip through the months, in fact the way I have been hogging all the yummy winter food the “lose weight” one might not even make it to February.
But there is one resolution that I have made and I know I am going to keep it not just this year but for many years to come. And that is to be more present for my child.
Being Present has nothing to do with being with your child all the time. Believe me I had myself convinced that as a Stay-at-home mom, I had already given the ultimate gift of time to my daughter. But being in your child’s life with a mindful presence has nothing to do with staying at home or being a working mother.
How often have we found ourselves so busy with the household stuff that we can’t pause to play ball with our kids or build a fort? How often are we immersed in the fabulous and dynamic online world, responding to the tweets and facebook messages as they come while our children long to tell about the fantastic story they heard today? How often have we snapped at our kids for bothering us while we were blogging well ironically, about them?
I know some of you might not have ever felt this way but I am sure some of us have. It is easy to lose perspective and think of these little moments when you have their and your whole lives ahead of you. But then sometimes life gives you a window of clarity where you peek into the future and find your child describing their childhood to someone. Somehow a parent, who wasn’t able to put the phone down, let the dishes wait or shut the laptop off to listen to them, play without a care in the world with them or just let them lie in your lap for some time doesn’t seem a good place to be in.
Thankfully I got this clarity well in time and I decided to not just give time but be present in that time with my child. As I am big on lists I have narrowed down on 5 ways to do this.
1) Be there: Often we feel the urge (or really need to) multitask and juggle a hundred things together but I will strive to just focus on my child when I spend time with her. No more tweeting while pretend playing.
2) Be happy to be there: You can spend all the time in the world with your child but if you are not feeling happy about it then it is absolutely worthless. I will always be enthusiastic and happy about being able to be with her.
3) Be a listener: As a mom I am always telling my daughter to do this, don’t do that or god help you if you do that! I need to take a backseat and let her do the talking sometimes. I will make sure to listen to her point of view on things and look at her perspective even if she is just four.
4) Be Offline : I don’t mean just the internet but I will reserve some time with when the phone will be off (silent or on vibrating doesn’t count), TV won’t be in the background, Xbox will not be considered a bonding time and iPad won’t be used as a babysitter.
5) Be a Child : We often forget to be a child while raising one. I will play silly games, make a mess, have a pillow fight, huddle under a tiny blanket and always remember that my daughter will always treasure these moments the most rather anything else I might do with my time.
I would love for you guys to add to this list with what you already do or would like to do to be more present in your child’s life. Happy New Year everyone!!
Swapna Thomas is a Work at Home Mom and a professional blogger who left the corporate rat race to raise her daughter. She loves shopping, writing, black coffee and DIY decor, in no particular order. You can catch her parenting blog TheMomViews.com and join her on Twitter @themomviews.